According to Variety, an unfinished version of "Doubt," based on the Tony-winning John Patrick Shanley play of the same name, will open the festival. "Doubt" replaces the originally announced "The Soloist," which was pulled by Paramount following the decision to push back the film's release date to March 2009. AFI FEST artistic director Rose Kuo told Variety, "The film is still being finished, but we were so excited to show 'Doubt' and help our friends at AFI FEST and the American Film Institute at the same time. We couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity."
Kuo added, "We are grateful to Miramax Films and producers Scott Rudin and Mark Roybal for providing AFI the honor of premiering this highly anticipated, unfinished version of 'Doubt.' There is no doubt that bringing together Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams in concert with the extraordinary talents of writer/director John Patrick Shanley promises an evening that will celebrate the finest in American film."
Written for the screen and directed by Doubt playwright Shanley, the film — due in limited release Dec. 12 — boasts Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman with Amy Adams and Viola Davis. The Scott Rudin production features costume design by Ann Roth and production design by David Gropman.
The play about a Bronx Catholic school nun who suspects a priest of wrongdoing was a sensation from its 2004 start at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage I Off-Broadway. Doubt moved to Broadway in 2005, snagged the Tony Award for Best Play (as well as two performance awards and one for direction) and played 525 performances before closing in July 2006.
Visit www.afi.com for more information about the festival.